Employee Investigation Services For Workplace Harassment On Social Apps

February 12, 2024

Employee Investigation Services For Harassment Concerns on Social Media

Employee investigation services can help any employer gather fair and unbiased information when facing an HR compliant. Internal investigations can become highly complex when HR complaints include off-site bad behavior on popular social apps that aren’t approved by the employer. In today’s digital age, harassment, bullying, and misconduct come in all shapes and forms, both during and outside typical work hours. Should one member of the workforce act inappropriately in the online world, do employers still have the obligation to investigate the incident itself?

Employee investigation services illustrated by a boss harassing his employee.

Off-site interactions among your workforce employees have posed unique complications for the employer, well before the age of social media. When HR concerns arise off the job site, at social events, or at the local pub, employers must collect evidence and actively work to bring an end to such issues as swiftly as possible. But today, workplace misconduct has very few physical boundaries, offering the ability for staff members to interact with one another regardless of what social media policies are in place.

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Employee Investigation Services and Alternative Employee Social Groups

Even when employers have social media HR policies in place, dictating the use of social media between workers off-site is next to impossible. Many employers provide social media-like communication forums to discuss their work, but there is no way of preventing staff from using popular messaging apps like WhatsApp or Facebook on their own time. In fact, many workforces create their own alternative social groups online, often without the presence of the employer at all. Whether these groups are used to swap shifts, share relevant news, or discuss their working conditions, employers simply don’t have the means to prevent their staff from interacting with one another.

Employers can, however, outline their expectations of how their workforce should represent the company outside of typical working hours. Staff must be made aware that their actions on social media could be used to support discipline, or even be grounds for termination. Despite such policies being in place, social media has historically been a breeding ground for toxic attitudes and inappropriate comments between staff. Determining what is just a one-time occasion, and what warrants further investigation can be difficult for any internal HR team. 

Should harassment on social media be repeated and ongoing, it is likely to grow into a much larger issue within the workplace. Employers can be held liable for not addressing misconduct between staff members, even if it occurs entirely in the digital world. An employer’s duty of care extends beyond the job site and includes social media platforms that are being used for work-related purposes.

Privacy Considerations

When something unfortunate occurs in the digital world, a formal HR investigation can be complicated by endless privacy laws. Should an employer request chat logs from the social media app themselves, social media representatives are likely to point to their own terms of use, citing that such requests would violate their own privacy policies.

Employers could also experience an employee’s simple unwillingness to provide details of what exactly occurred online. Staff have no obligation to hand over private text messages, and employers will typically need to rely on screenshots or one account of the events from the individual who filed the complaint originally. Violating the personal privacy of an individual employee can be disastrous for an employer, invalidate evidence that has already been collected, and ultimately allow workplace harassment and bullying to occur without little consequence.

Private Investigation Offerings from AFIMAC Global

Employers will need to explore third-party solutions for their workplace investigation needs when complaints flow between the real world and popular social media platforms. When private investigation firms are leveraged, employers can be certain that every detail of the investigation, including privacy laws, is adhered to in the strictest manner possible. Internal HR teams can act as the initial point of contact, while AFIMAC private investigators handle the rest of the process.

Avoid compromising a workplace investigation with the inherited bias that comes from your HR teams previously working with your workforce, and collect evidence that supports business decisions and protects the corporation. AFIMAC workplace investigators can not only get to the bottom of complex HR complaints but can monitor employee social media groups to gather further evidence on your behalf.

Ensure that your workplace investigations are completed correctly the first time by partnering with AFIMAC Global. Capable of servicing any employer across North America, our teams are ready to collect evidence that can withstand litigation and avoid wrongful termination suits entirely. Dive deep into social profiles, corporate communications, and the digital world. Contact us now to learn more.

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